Marilyn Monroe's Death: Conspiracy Theories And What Allegedly Really Happened

By Jacob Shelton
(Getty Images)

By the time of Marilyn Monroe's death in 1962, she was one of the most sought-after and successful actresses of the era, but success didn't equal happiness for Monroe. For most of her life, she was dismissed as a brainless beauty despite her considerable talents, and her final years were fraught with bad relationships, drugs, and depression. Monroe's cause of death was initially deemed a "probable suicide," but a lack of evidence has fueled conspiracy theories for decades, implicating everything from UFOs to the Kennedy family in her death. We'll likely never know the truth about her untimely demise. We can only think of what could have been.

Death Of A Superstar

In Monroe's final years, her severe depression and insomnia left her dependent on amphetamines to get out of bed in the morning and alcohol and barbiturates to get back into it. This literal cocktail of illness and self-medication threw a wrench into her once-sterling career, and she was soon fired and sued for $750,000 by 20th Century Fox after a chronic respiratory infection delayed production of 1962's Something's Got To Give. She was eventually rehired at the behest of co-star Dean Martin, with production set to resume in October, but tragically, it was not to be.

On August 4, 1962, Monroe spent the day puttering around her Brentwood estate, where she had a therapy session and a meeting with a photographer to discuss a spread in Playboy. Around 3:30 the next morning, Monroe's housekeeper, Eunice Murray, found her lying facedown in her bed and unresponsive. By 3:50 A.M., she was confirmed dead of a barbiturate overdose.